Washington, Sept. 23 (CNA) The United States should help Taiwan boost its own defense capability to prevent China from launching an invasion, Senator Marco Rubio said Wednesday amid rising military coercion from Beijing toward Taipei.
Speaking during a Hudson Institute event in which he shared his views on U.S. foreign policy and world affairs, the Republican senator and vocal critic of China's human rights record, said he believes Beijing will eventually use force to take over Taiwan, when asked by the event host if Taiwan may be the "flashpoint in U.S.-China relations."
Rubio said that in both Taiwan and the U.S., those who oppose being linked to China have grown in recent years.
Only recently, Washington sent two senior officials to Taipei, according to Rubio, referring to visits by U.S. Health Secretary Alex Azar and Under Secretary of State Keith Krach in August and earlier this month, respectively.
In response, China has been sending more warplanes into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ) "as a messaging exercise," the senator said.
"I do believe that eventually it is a red-line issue for China, and eventually, if necessary, they will move by force to exert their claims on Taiwan," Rubio said.
"The only thing that would prevent that from happening is if the cost of doing that is too high," he added.
To realize that goal, he said he believes the U.S. should not help Taiwan to win an all-out conflict against China. "That's not possible," he said.
Instead, Washington should assist Taipei "to have the capability to raise the cost of military adventurism there to a level that China's not willing to pay, and navigate that very carefully in an effort not to try to trigger a conflict like that from happening," he stressed.
The Florida senator said this is "the best hope that we have" at this point in managing that relationship, but he also admitted that it is a "challenging and tricky one."
He cautioned the U.S. to navigate carefully and not be overly provocative, as this could invite a Chinese action at some point in the next decade.
The senator's comments were made against the backdrop that the Chinese military has continued to beef up the frequency and level of its military coercion toward Taiwan.
On Wednesday, two Chinese military Y-8 anti-submarine airplanes entered Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ), the sixth intrusion of its kind in eight days since Sept. 16.
Earlier this week, President Tsai Ing-wen toured an Air Force fighter squadron in offshore Penghu County that sits on the front line of the country's air defenses, during which she pledged that Taiwan will not allow others to display military might in its territorial airspace.
Also Wednesday, in a speech to lawmakers in the state of Wisconsin, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted China's attempts to exercise influence on U.S. government and politics.
During his speech at the Wisconsin State Capitol, Pompeo said the U.S. has watched the Communist Party of China (CPC) lobby state-level officials and local interests.
"They have been in full swing for years and they're increasing in intensity," he said.
"Much of that activity revolves around pressing state governments not to recognize, trade with, or otherwise engage with Taiwan," he said, without further elaboration.
"Each of us -- each of us as public officials must never be complacent or complicit in the CPC's campaign to fracture American society and to silence American voices. Every one of us -- and I know you'll join me in this -- must stand up for our sovereignty and for American values themselves," he concluded.
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